Google+ Consumer Psyche: October 2010


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Google Saree

Satya Pauls's creation. Guess Google is dominating our lives most of the time. Pic is from here.

Push mediocrity

Here is why you should question if your professor isn't up to the mark. Seth's post on Pushing back on mediocre professors

College costs a fortune. It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of money.

When a professor assigns you to send a blogger a list of vague and inane interview questions ("1. How did you get started in this field? 2. What type of training (education) does this field require? 3. What do you like best about your job? 4. what do you like least about your job?") I think you have an obligation to say, "Sir, I'm going to be in debt for ten years because of this degree. Perhaps you could give us an assignment that actually pushes us to solve interesting problems, overcome our fear or learn something that I could learn in no other way..."

When a professor spends hours in class going over concepts that are clearly covered in the textbook, I think you have an obligation to repeat the part about the debt and say, "perhaps you could assign this as homework and we could have an actual conversation in class..."

When you discover that one class after another has so many people in a giant room watching a tenured professor far far in the distance, perhaps you could mention the debt part to the dean and ask if the class could be on video so you could spend your money on interactions that actually changed your life.

The vast majority of email I get from college students is filled with disgust, disdain and frustration at how backwards the system is. Professors who neither read nor write blogs or current books in their field. Professors who rely on marketing textbooks that are advertising-based, despite the fact that virtually no professional marketers build their careers solely around advertising any longer. And most of all, about professors who treat new ideas or innovative ways of teaching with contempt.

"This is costing me a fortune, prof! Push us! Push yourself!"

Put a shark in there

Got this as a forward in year 2k and makes a great lesson.

The Japanese have a great liking for fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So, to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring back the fish. The longer it took them to bring back the fish, the staler they grew. The fish were not fresh and the Japanese did not like the taste. To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen fish. And they did not like the taste of frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower price. So, fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little hashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive.

Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish. The fishing industry faced an impending crisis! But today, it has got over that crisis and has emerged as one of the most important trades in that country! How did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan?

To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state. The fish are challenged and hence are constantly on the move. And they survive and arrive in a healthy state! They command a higher price and are most sought-after. The challenge they face keeps them fresh!

Humans are no different. L. Ron Hubbard observed in the early 1950’s: “Man thrives, oddly enough, only in the presence of a challenging environment.” George Bernard Shaw said: “Satisfaction is death!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Human behaviour

"Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them--if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry."

                ---- J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The psychology behind Off-by-one pricing

A common practice among retailers is to price products at 199 or 999 instead of rounding the price up to 200 or 1,000. Cognitive psychologists often refer to this as the left-digit effect and it is the one of most prevalent pricing strategies in the world.

Aleem Bawany explains the psychology behind off-by-one pricing here.

Indian Design Trends

Indian design - be it in films, furniture or accessories - may be high on style, but it is drifting away from its rich heritage in the zeal to imitate global trends, says Design Indaba, the design bible that has launched a collector's issue on India.

The magazine, published by Interactive Africa from South Africa, was launched in 2001.

"Designers in India should hunt for new aesthetic idioms from within the country's rich heritage. After independence, we lost the old aesthetic awareness because of lack of government support," said Ravi Naidoo, founder and managing editor of Interactive Africa.

"Design talent abounds in India but lack of design education in the country puts them at a disadvantage when compared to the rest of the world. We do not have art schools in the country which have global standards."

Read more: Indian design moving way from heritage - The Times of India

Non violent mission

Here is the first reference to a non-violent struggle which influenced Gandhi.

The Masque of Anarchy by Shelly
"Stand ye calm and resolute,
Like a forest close and mute,
With folded arms and looks which are
Weapons of unvanquished war.

And if then the tyrants dare,
Let them ride among you there,
Slash, and stab, and maim and hew,
What they like, that let them do.

With folded arms and steady eyes,
And little fear, and less surprise
Look upon them as they slay
Till their rage has died away

Then they will return with shame
To the place from which they came,
And the blood thus shed will speak
In hot blushes on their cheek.

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many — they are few" [1]

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Better than original

Ever felt that your talent is not being utilized and felt you can do a better job? See what Thomas did. He had a crazy idea when watching the trailer of Clash of the Titans and mixed scenes from the Telugu hit Magadheera and the result is as you see above. Guess what happened? His video got picked up by Allu Sirish and he got an invite to synergize. One of the advantages of the new technologies and reduced distances. Showcase your talent in someway and you never know what can happen.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Last Interaction

Last week I happened to watch parts of Once upon a time in Mumbai. Ajay Devgan wants to gift something to Kangana and buys one Amrud for Indian rupee 400 against a price of Indian rupee 0.40.

The logic used is what if this is the last piece with you? The price goes up to 4. What if this is the last piece in Mumbai? The price goes up to 40 bucks. What if this is the last piece on the planet? The price goes up to 400 bucks.

There is a lesson in sales. Every sale you make is different if you have a choice of making another sale. Every interaction is different when you know there is another chance. If you know there is another chance to impress, sell, convince, win over then your effort isn't as heartful.

When you know this is the last chance, the last opportunity, your approach, passion is very different. When closing a sale or interaction, either business or personal, just pause and think if you would want to be remembered like this? It takes your attitude to another level. A level where leaders operate. That's the stuff you should be doing, aiming at. Try and see. Your success rate goes North. Each interaction would be awesome.

UnKind Joy!

Parents crib when they hear their child ask for 'Kinder Joy'. 'It is not worth the price we pay but what to do?' Prema said when I smiled looking at her pay 35 bucks grudgingly. The little girl was in her own world ripping open the chocolate. I wonder what makes the kid love the chocolate so much.

It tastes Choo good you know! She says without flinching a bit or taking her gaze off her chocolate. Prema & Dristi are my co-passengers on the way to Vijayawada.

I am more interested in the kid's loyalty for the brand. Drishti is in UKG and already has a collection of toys from all the recognizable brands. She recollects all her toys and who got them for her. Her US aunt had promised her a new toy when she would come for Diwali this year.

The marketing presence of the brand isn't too much either. There is comparatively lesser number of advertisements and promos but the in-store presence or Orchard Marketing, is very high. The color of the stand and the way the product is shaped makes a lot of difference in catching the eye.

Within a few minutes we get to be good friends and Drishti tells me about her collection of Kinder Joy toys and how they exchange if they get similar ones. Forget the taste and the toy, it is the sense of ownership and branding that excites her. That's where Kinder Joy scores much to the discomfort of the parents. That's smart.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The buying brain

Your brain -- and your customers’ – is 100,000 years old. Its basic skills and functions are the same ones it developed to survive on the plains of Africa so many millennia ago. As such, the “modern” brain is occasionally at odds with 21st century life.

As it navigates through that life, your brain is like an iceberg. Most of its decisions occur below the water line. Your conscious mind contributes to making only about 5% of your decisions. The subconscious mind makes the other 95%.

For most of our evolution, gathering food and fuel have been primary objectives. That’s partly why shopping is, at its heart, a primal activity. Here are some examples of how the subconscious mind functions when shopping.

1) Your brain gets scared in some stores. Your conscious mind doesn’t know it, of course, but your subconscious mind views sharp corners as a threat. Every time you push a shopping cart around the end of an aisle, your subconscious mind winces. The cringe dates back to the earliest days of the modern brain, when humans still roamed the Serenghetti. Think about it: you don’t see many sharp angles in nature. When your subconscious mind comes across straight lines and sharp angles, it’s hard-wired to perceive them as a threat and prompts you to avoid them. Smart retailers will learn to curve and soften their sharp corners better to invite the buying brain in.

2) Too much of one thing can make your brain go blind. “Repetition blindness” sets in when we see too many of the same objects. Think about a wall of toothpaste boxes, all approximately the same size and many sharing similar colors and graphics. Confronted with this much “sameness,” your brain looks for differences. When it can’t find enough variations, it blends everything together, becoming “blind” to the individual packages themselves. This is why we sometimes can’t see the trees for the forest. In a sea of sameness, smart manufacturers will find a way for their packaging to “pop” at the shelf.

3) Men and women are hard-wired to shop differently. Men shop by looking for targets; women shop by looking for landmarks. Women explore their territory; men make maps.

4) Origin is important. The brain likes to see the source of the product inside the package. It appreciates cows on milk cartons, for instance, and grapes on bottles of wine.

5) Faces and eye contact fascinate the brain. The brain needs to see faces to determine intent. Are you friend or foe? But the brain also prefers ambiguous expressions on faces. It likes to figure out the puzzle. What is s/he thinking or feeling? The Mona Lisa is a perfect example of the power of ambiguity. Closer to home, ambiguous faces on packaging and promotions are like magnets to the shopping brain.

Read more @ A. K. Pradeep's new book, The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Blues: Add More

What is wrong in appreciating? What is wrong in being more? What is wrong in being enthusiastic? Well, nothing. Then why don't we do that? More enthusiastic.

This Monday, change the way you interact with others, customers, colleagues, team, the valet who parks your car, the bell boy in your lift, the guy who brings you coffee. Change the way you respond to day. Be more. Add more. Add life.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dignified. Tolerant and dignified

That is what I felt about Indians walking down the street a few hours after the Ayodhya verdict was announced and people were resilent and calm in the street. This was new to the whole world. A new message sent out very strongly to all the audeince who were expecting emotions to run high and riots on the street. The whole country, especially Bangalore, saw the whole batallions descend to maintain the calm and serenity of the people. Offices were close, shops downed their shutters, people rushed home and we all waited.

The result was smart and was especially hit well to the audience. No gain no loss strategy. I should appreciate all the political parties and religious groups for appealing calm and peace. Proud to be Indian.